Mechanical mules. Conveyors of the front edge of the Soviet Army


NAMI-032M. Photo: denisovets.ru


In the interests of the military medical service


As you know, in the Soviet Union, all car factories were somehow involved in the defense order. The compact car class was no exception. The pioneers in this direction were engineers from the Moscow plant of small cars (MZMA), who in the early 50s developed a conveyor based on the 26-horsepower Moskvich-401/420. It was a front-engine car with flat exterior panels and a body designed for a pair of wounded stretchers. If necessary, only the passengers were covered with a tarpaulin top, and the driver was open to all winds and precipitation. It was here that the slightly utopian concept of rescue from small arms first appeared, when the driver jumps on the go and controls the machine crawling. To do this, the steering column was previously folded left to the side. Apparently, engineers did not think about what to do to a soldier when the fire is being fired from the left. In 1958, MZMA introduced a new version of the leading edge conveyor, developed on the basis of a promising family of military off-road vehicles of a wagon arrangement. Neither the unnamed Moscow TPK with the nodes of the experienced Moskvich-415 jeep, nor the family of cabless SUVs eventually went into series. The Ministry of Defense was not satisfied with the relatively high machine height, dimensions and the discrepancy between the stealth parameters on the battlefield.


Photo: auto.kombat.com.ua

It must be said separately that the development of such machines was not exclusively the initiative of the Soviet Army. In the USA, a self-propelled M274 truck with a 15-horsepower engine and a folding steering column was already created by that time, and in Austria, the larger Steyr Haflinger was put into operation in 1959. However, this technique can not even be called the prototypes of Soviet conveyors, primarily due to the fact that domestic cars were able to swim and had a much smaller profile.


Photo: auto.kombat.com.ua




M274. Photo: drive2.ru


M274. Photo: 5koleso.ru

Mechanical mules. Conveyors of the front edge of the Soviet Army


Steyr Haflinger. Photo: drive2.ru


An unnamed prototype TPK with the nodes of the experimental Moskvich-415 jeep from MZMA, which did not suit the military with its dimensions. Photo: denisovets.ru

After unsuccessful experiments by MZMA in the development of military equipment, the order for the development of TPKs was transferred to the NAMI Research Automobile and Automotive Institute in the laboratory of passenger cars of the famous designer Yuri Aronovich Dolmatovsky. The motor was supposed to deliver a 23-horsepower M-72 from the Irbit motorcycle factory, and the body was supposed to accommodate a couple of stretchers with wounded or six sedentary fighters. But Dolmatovsky, one of the most original domestic engineers, obviously played up and presented to the military not at all what they asked for: the funny "Squirrel" by US A50.


US A50 "Squirrel" - the failed TPK Yuri Dolmatovsky. Photo: denisovets.ru




NAMI-032G is the first civilian TPK developed under the direction of Boris Fitterman. Photo: denisovets.ru

She did not have all-wheel drive, the motor was located at the rear and it was impossible to talk about any combat prospects of the car. As a result, the TPK project was given to Boris Mikhailovich Fitterman, Stalin Prize laureate, former chief designer of ZIS, design engineer, who had just left Vorkuta camp.

Under his leadership, in 1957, NAMI-032G ("a utility vehicle for cross-country use for use in rural areas") appeared. Fitterman categorically rejected the idea of ​​Dolmatovsky with a rear engine: he rightly decided that this would seriously impair the patency of the car. On a loaded TPK, the weight will shift back, the front wheels will remain underloaded and lose traction. In addition, the heavy loin of the machine afloat will cause serious trim in the stern. For the novelty, the chief designer chose a progressive independent suspension of all wheels with lamellar torsions as the elastic elements that were borrowed from the SZA wheelchair.


Boris Fitterman driving one of the NAMI-032C prototypes. Photo: denisovets.ru

21 liter air-cooled engine from. and a working volume of 0,764 liters for NAMI-032G were developed at the Irbit Motor Plant. Most of the experimental work on the program until 1957 also went on in Irbit. Realizing that the car is still experimental, Fitterman did not equip it with either a roof or doors. It was a kind of boat with wheels, capable of developing afloat up to 4,5 km / h. But NAMI-032G was actually the first domestic front-wheel drive car - the rear-wheel drive was connected forcibly. This Fitterman car had a completely non-military appearance, the car was more like a frivolous walking beach jeep. The truly first military TPK (and secret, of course) was the NAMI-032M with a low-sided displacement body, an inclined steering column located on top of the hood, and characteristic steel bridges mounted on the sides. With the help of these ramps or ramps, a miniature SUV with not the largest angles of entry and exit overcame deep pits and ravines. Since the machine was primarily intended for the needs of military physicians, a capstan winch on a belt drive from a motor was placed in front of the body to evacuate the wounded from the battlefield. To do this, the orderly neatly shifted the fighter to the drag boat, hooked to a 100-meter cable and pulled the evacuee to the car.


NAMI-032M comes out of the water. Photo: denisovets.ru

The driver was located in the center of the body and was no longer able to jump and drive the car in the event of enemy fire: by that time, an understanding of the absurdity of this idea had come. If there was a danger of shelling, the soldier simply lay between the stretchers (having previously threw back the seat and the steering column) and, hoping for good luck, left the car by fire.

NAMI-032M had an impressive ground clearance of 262 mm, which was provided, among other things, by wheel gearboxes with a gear ratio of 1,39. The maximum carrying capacity of NAMI-032M with a curb weight of 650 kilograms was limited to half a ton, but it was possible to tow a trailer of a similar weight.

The first tests in the presence of the military showed that structurally NAMI-032M should be further carefully developed. In the memoirs of testers there are such lines:

“The front-line transporter went through the snow, but then he ran into something and stalled. The chief designer stomped in fury. There was a tantrum with him. The people rushed to the jammed car and pulled it back, after which the call was repeated again. And trouble must happen - the car again ran into some kind of obstacle and stopped in the snow. Marshals waved their hands, got into their cars and drove away ... "

TPK goes to Zaporozhye


NAMI-032M didn’t show itself very well not only on virgin snow, but also on the water surface - as it turned out, amphibian could confidently swim only in absolutely calm weather. Even a small ripple on the water was a problem for the TPK, and in such a situation it could well be at the bottom. This was largely due to the heavy weight of the machine - the military ordered no more than 550 kilograms in running order. Tests also showed the low reliability of most TPK units, which in this case cannot be called a critical drawback: the machine was still fundamentally new in design. For example, a low-power motor with a low torque had to be constantly twisted to the maximum speed, which reduced its service life, and also revealed problems with the lubrication and cooling system. There were constructive miscalculations. So, an independent suspension should have provided better cross-country ability, but its stiffness was excessive, which provoked earlier hanging the wheels on bumps. Further, the military was not satisfied with the lack of protection of the crew from rainfall - it was necessary to build a canvas top and a windshield that protects from branches in the forest. NAMI-032M and motor power were not enough. However, at this time, the Melitopol Motor Plant began to prepare for production a four-cylinder V-shaped air-cooled engine, which was planned for the promising TPK.




NAMI-032C is the last attempt by US engineers to defend their car in front of the military. As you can see, to improve cross-country ability on snow virgin snow, skis were mounted on the front axle. The result was a unique car - a hybrid snowmobile with the ability to overcome water obstacles by swimming. Photo: denisovets.ru

Be that as it may, the test results turned out to be rather positive both for the Ministry of Defense and for developers - the general concept of a completely new amphibian was approved.

After improvements in 1961, the third generation of the conveyor appeared, which received the name NAMI-032C. The letter "C" in this case meant "fiberglass" - it was Fitterman's desire to reduce the weight of amphibians. The overall layout of the car was unchanged, but the steering shaft was now horizontally located above the high hood, and for movement in the snow the chief designer suggested replacing the wheels with skis. This was a reaction to the NAMI-032M failure described above on virgin snow. But even taking into account such improvements, the car did not satisfy the military. Fitterman stubbornly did not mount the windshield and the tarp roof on the TPK, and the fiberglass body was not strong enough, although it was much lighter.






ZAZ-967. Photo: denisovets.ru

The result of many years of work by engineers from Irbit and NAMI was a clearly developed concept of a floating front-line conveyor designed to evacuate wounded soldiers, as well as deliver weapons and ammunition to combat units. The idea, which has no direct analogues in the world, was further developed already at the Kommunar Zaporozhye Automobile Plant, the founder of the legendary Zaporozhets series of small runabouts. First of all, under the hood they installed MeMZ-967 with a capacity of 22 liters. with., and also deprived of headlights in front of a body. Now, according to the idea, the road was lit by one headlight located at the driver's side, which did not need to be sealed. High cross-country capability was provided by an advanced transmission devoid of cardan joints between the front gearbox and the rear differential. The fact is that the gearbox was rigidly connected to the rear axle gearboxes with a pipe in which the drive shaft was located. And the semiaxes were swinging (the suspension, as we recall, was independent) was carried out by means of sliding crackers from the differential side and cardan joints from the side of wheel reducers. The Zaporizhzhya prototype TPK received the name ZAZ-967 and in 1965 prepared for complex state trials.

To be continued ...
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  1. polpot 1 March 2020 18: 09 New
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    Thanks for the article, we look forward to continuing
    1. Kote Pan Kokhanka 1 March 2020 18: 37 New
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      I fully support! Waiting for!
  2. Aviator_ 1 March 2020 18: 13 New
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    An interesting article, respect to the author. About the car "Squirrel" read in the journal "Technique-Youth" in the mid 60's.
  3. Vasily Ponomarev 1 March 2020 18: 18 New
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    Mechanical mules - this is how mechanical mules look
    1. Lopatov 1 March 2020 18: 31 New
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      Quote: Vasily Ponomarev
      Mechanical mules - this is how mechanical mules look

      It looks like a cut grandmas.
      1. KVK1 1 March 2020 18: 49 New
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        for sure!
        is that what a soldier is “walking” in the video?
        Did he come to the army for a walk?
        attach a drag to it, put everything there .... and no "mule" is needed, and it will be healthier ...)))
        1. prodi 1 March 2020 18: 57 New
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          the soldier should definitely be able to move on "such a mule"; and if he is one for four, then all four must be on it and fit
          1. Romario_Argo 1 March 2020 22: 03 New
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            it’s like from the SG-1 Stargate series they also had a wheeled robot conveyor
        2. Lopatov 1 March 2020 19: 42 New
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          Quote: KVK1
          for sure!
          is that what a soldier is “walking” in the video?
          Did he come to the army for a walk?
          attach a drag to it, put everything there .... and no "mule" is needed, and it will be healthier ...)))

          Mindflow
          The US military eventually abandoned this “miracle” as early as the year 15.
          Due to unreliability, high cost and noise.
          And in the end they chose a much more adequate option

          The contract is signed, Army, 2021-2024, $ 162.404 million, 624 platforms
          The Marines are still choosing, and appear to be leaning toward the tracked version
          1. KVK1 1 March 2020 19: 45 New
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            so am I about the same ..
            can still be simplified and cheapened
            it’s possible to attach a handle to the “adequate” version and throw the engine out
            it will be cheaper and easier ...
            again, you can hide behind this cart when you push it ...)))
          2. bk0010 1 March 2020 20: 24 New
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            Quote: Spade
            The US military eventually abandoned this “miracle” as early as the year 15.

            Yes? Very sorry. And they could develop an interesting direction at the expense of their bottomless budget. Could something interesting come out.
        3. Vladimir_2U 2 March 2020 03: 22 New
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          Faro on the forehead yet! for the daily use. )))
      2. militarist63 2 March 2020 01: 33 New
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        That's right! good
      3. Dr. Hub April 22 2020 02: 46 New
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        Maybe yes. It costs a little cheaper than Almaty))
    2. militarist63 2 March 2020 01: 35 New
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      And if he runs away to the adversaries ...?! wink
    3. Grits 2 March 2020 02: 32 New
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      Quote: Vasily Ponomarev
      this is what mechanical mules look like

      Imagine how to repair it in the field ....
      Then it’s easier to have a bag of oats than a living mule.
      1. Svarog51 2 March 2020 03: 22 New
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        Alexander hi
        Then it’s easier to have a bag of oats than a living mule.

        I would prefer the dog of Saint Bernard. The breed was bred to search and save people in the Alps. Shorter than a mule, it’s easier to feed, it eats everything that people eat. TPK are intended primarily for the evacuation of the wounded. I understand that a mule is “more powerful” than a dog, but also more vulnerable. IMHO, of course.
        1. Grits 2 March 2020 06: 18 New
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          Quote: Svarog51
          Shorter than a mule, it’s easier to feed, it eats everything that people eat. TPK are intended primarily for the evacuation of the wounded.

          Yes, the dog is less vulnerable, it can crawl. But not only the wounded must be endured. Ammunition also needs to be brought (to bring). A horse, a mule can be loaded for long crossings along the slobbing mestngi. where no technology passes at all.
          By the way, a mule in this respect is preferable to a horse. more hardy and unpretentious.
          The book of V.K. Arseniev describes how they took horses in their first expeditions through the taiga. But then only mules were used. In the taiga they are more reliable.
          1. Svarog51 2 March 2020 19: 46 New
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            Alexander, well, I pointed out the difference. The dog is closer to the "front end", ungulates are best used in the rear. Here, as in capitalism - either quickly and not by much, or slowly - but all at once. According to anyone, they will not fall under fire of their own free will. Yes, like the people themselves.
            P.S. Alexander, have you had enemies? Cons on a neutral post. It's funny You need to be curious. For what?
  4. fk7777777 1 March 2020 18: 52 New
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    That’s cool, very good ideas, in fact a ready-made business decision, bring it to the mind and go, for the middle band it’s the most.
  5. 113262a 1 March 2020 19: 34 New
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    There were six of these TABLETS with a lock-up motor in the regiment, quite nimble! At least, according to AZIMUT 666, everyone went on their own to the spare area! Height is somewhere in the waist, with the steering wheel folded and without an awning.
    1. Doliva63 1 March 2020 20: 08 New
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      Quote: 113262
      There were six of these TABLETS with a lock-up motor in the regiment, quite nimble! At least, according to AZIMUT 666, everyone went on their own to the spare area! Height is somewhere in the waist, with the steering wheel folded and without an awning.

      In 35 oddshbr saw such. But the height, it seems to me, was about half a meter. They were pretty and used them actively. It seems to me a useful machine.
      1. 113262a 1 March 2020 21: 16 New
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        Even in the 23rd tank regiment in the GSVG there were such! It is medicine.
      2. Tima62 3 March 2020 20: 45 New
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        Quote: Doliva63
        But the height, it seems to me, was about half a meter.

        More will be, with the steering wheel folded and without an awning - twenty five meters.
    2. Alexga 2 March 2020 12: 37 New
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      They were jokingly called "corpses" in our country. TPK-42 I had in the battalion as many as four pieces, all in the BMP, I got from the brigade staff.
  6. Petrol cutter 1 March 2020 20: 02 New
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    Well, as I understand it, LuAZ was originally developed for such events. And then he became a civilian machine
    By the way, having driven a little in it, I almost got burned from the exhaust ...
    With the windows closed. Winter was the deal.
    1. abrakadabre 1 March 2020 21: 00 New
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      Well, as I understand it, LuAZ was originally developed for such events.
      Exactly. I suspect that in the continuation of the article, the author will come to him.
  7. TPK saw and even took part in pulling the "drowned man" out of the water))
    I always believed that such "mules" have the right to life both in the army and in the national economy. After all, how many times for the service had to carry too much. And so it would have been transported!
  8. BAI
    BAI 1 March 2020 20: 34 New
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    I was waiting for the whole article when LuAZ appeared, but I waited
    To be continued ...

    Well then everything is clear.
    By the way, this equipment is not only on conservation, but also actively sold and resold:
    LuAZ 967, 1987, with mileage, price 150 rubles.
    10 km, 000 MT (1.2 h.p.), SUV, full, gasoline
    St. Petersburg

    And by release date - not very old.
    1. Grits 2 March 2020 02: 38 New
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      Quote: BAI
      By the way, this equipment is not only on conservation, but also actively sold and resold:

      In the mid-2000s, I caught fire with such a TPK. I saw him often and how he ran. I wanted to buy, I started searching, I even found it. For the "root", fishing, mushrooms, nuts, berries ... But while he was dumb, he was outbid, then there was nowhere to get it. As a result, he bought a Mazda, began to carry his ass and forgot about the forest ...
  9. vnord 2 March 2020 10: 31 New
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    Quote: Benzorez
    By the way, having driven a bit in it, I almost got burned by the exhaust ... With the windows closed. Winter was the deal.
    He has an autonomous stove, and when the unburned mixture was buggy, it went into the cabin
  10. vnord 2 March 2020 10: 32 New
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    TPK sometimes come across drom.ru
  11. Looking for 2 March 2020 17: 13 New
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    some kind of handicraft folk art
  12. cat Rusich 2 March 2020 21: 15 New
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    Under the USSR, ZAZ-967 should be issued to all retirees. I went to the store for shopping, I overstocked it, put it in the back and leisurely home.
  13. seagull 24 May 2020 19: 07 New
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    Well, otherwise they "torture themselves, as under the tsarist regime" ... Everything has long been invented. Put in the driver's seat "Fedor" and our answer is ready for robo-mules.